Gratitude

i offer deep-abiding gratitude to family, lovers and friends, who have been, and continue to be, my sacred mirrors and to the many teachers & mentors who have enriched (and undone) my life; whose unique gifts continue to move through me in mysterious ways and in unexpected moments. there are many more “teachers” who i have not mentioned here. the following is simply a list of those who were personally involved in my pathless journey, in whose presence i experienced grace or unconditional love and to whom i bow with overflowing gratitude.

in chronological order, from childhood:

Martin L. King, Jr., Sister Corita Kent, Sister Monica Julie, Alan Watts, Yanko Varda, Krishnamurti, Raymond Duncan, Little Joe Gomez, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, Holly Near, Irmgard Schloegl, Lanza del Vasto, Ling Rinpoche, Gen Rinpoche, Kalu Rinpoche,

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov, Lama Yeshe, Brooke Medicine Eagle, Grace Spotted Eagle & Wallace Black Elk, Joan Halifax, Pema Chödrön, Yogi Bhajan, Hilda Charlton, Grandmother Twylah Nitsch, Tsultrim Allione, Dyhani Ywahoo, Richard Deertrack, Charlotte Selver, César Chávez, Henry Hammond, Eligio S. Gallegos, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Dale Borglum, Emilie Conrad, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, Stephen & Ondrea Levine, Ramdass, Ann Sayre Wiseman, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Joanna Macy, Gail Montgomery, Hilda Gutiérrez-Baldoquín, Buffie Johnson, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sister Chân Không, Ricky Sherover-Marcuse, Faisal Muqaddam, Toni Packer, Arnold & Amy Mindell, Aunty Pua Kanakaole Kanahele, Ann Thomas, John Seed, Dominie Cappadonna, Aunty Mahealani Kuomo`o-Henry, Ruth Tai, Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, Lama Tarchin, Susan Murphy, Kumu Raylene Ha‘aieiea Kawaiae’a, Luke Blue Feather, Byron Katie, Kirtana, Gangaji, Sahra Aschenbach, Judith Saly, Peter Fenner, Miriam Louisa Simons, Scott Kiloby, Kerry Strongman, Dr. Swami Savitra Devi~

and the irony is that i was rarely searching for a teacher!

i wrote the following song, in the summer of 1991. (as a singer, i was often asked to open for conferences and dharma talks and i got tired of the kinds of songs that i was singing…)

these amazing people, too, were, and are, my teachers and touched me deeply. in their presence i also experienced grace and unconditional love, in a different way.

Let Us Not Forget

as we sit here now gathered together, let us not forget

the aging black woman in washington square whose feet are bandaged with rags,

the mexican child whose stomach is empty, his hands too weak to pray.

oh, let us not forget the poet in south africa tortured in prison,

crying in silence for freedom.

let us not forget

the nepalese child who weeps in the night, whose eyes can no longer see,

the native american robbed of her land, quietly dying on the mesa,

the teenage dreamer, dreaming in rio, shot through the head last friday.

let us not forget

the vietnamese girl raped by the pirate and the pirate who never knew love,

the speechless mother in the marshall islands who gave birth to a mutated baby,

pulsating flesh with no limbs.

oh, let us not forget our brother in russia, whose bones are brittle as straw.

he saw the poison fire of chernobyl.

oh, let us not forget, we inter-are with all living beings…

let us not forget~

"There is only love. All else, repeating stories exhausting themselves."      - Rashani